Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
Are you sitting comfortably? Then here is a story. Many years ago, when I had enough hair to justify buying hair gel, or product as it’s mysteriously now known, a good friend of mine needed to boost sales for his marketing business. He asked my advice and I lowered my voice and said sagely ‘go selling.’
He laughed and said he had a better idea…he was about to hire his first sales executive, whom he would put in a car and send him off to distant lands in search of buried treasure.
‘No! No! Don’t do that!’ I shrieked. I went on to explain that his new hire would take 6 months to get to know the business and a further 6 months to break any clients and that the chances of him covering the costs of his salary, tax, car, pension and hotdogs (sales types need to eat too) was slim to none.
Sadly my friend was a) tired of selling and b) in love with the idea of having a sales guy on his team, as it made him feel big and important. He was stroking his own ego and overlooking the buiness reality galloping towards him.
And the end of the story? A year later he fired the guy and moaned bitterly at how much he had cost him, for no discernable return.
I’m not saying that hiring a sales exec is bad per se, just that you need about 50 other employees first to justify the long term investment. For most of us below that size, the trick is not to look outside our business, but to look in the mirror.
This means accepting that we are the best sales exec we have in our business and that we need to increase our bandwidth (as my Canadian client used to say) to give us more capacity to act. So, our fifth sales secret is bandwidth.
We undertake two functions in our business that add value: Delivery and sales.
Anything else can be delegated. Time spent not delivering our service, or meeting new clients is, quite honestly, time wasted. We are sub-optimizing our potential, reducing the upward arc of our growth and generally just kidding ourselves that two days spent writing up invoices and paying bills is time well spent. It isn’t.
Instead of hiring a sales exec we can hire a part-time PA. Go for part-time to save cost and to focus them in doing only what they excel at. I have three part-time PAs and they are all fabulous and each perform specific tasks, with no overlap. My expenses get sorted, my book tweets are tweeted and my ILM training centre is looked after. Leaving me free to design and deliver content, or meet people, lunch, network and follow up new leads.
I’ve been asked countless times by colleagues how they can improve their sales performance and my answer has always been….get a PA, to increase your bandwidth, to give you the time to create more opportunities.
If you’re reading this and thinking that’s too expensive for you, then reflect on this…how will spending time writing up your expenses help you to increase sales?
Get wise! Get some bandwidth! Good luck…and happy selling!
Next week: Caring for the CEO
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Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in
Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish
Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age
Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish
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